People as far south as Missouri reported sightings of the aurora borealis on Monday night, as forecasters said the phenomenon known as the northern lights would likely last for several more hours over clear skies in parts of the northern United States.
The northern lights got their name because they typically light up the sky at higher latitudes. They “will be visible across much of the Northland the rest of this evening into tonight,” the National Weather Service office in Duluth, Minn., wrote late Monday on X, formerly Twitter. The Northland is a term that usually refers to northeast Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.
Unconfirmed reports of northern lights sightings were beginning to trickle in on social media on Monday evening, Cory Rothstein, a meteorologist at the Weather Service office in Duluth, said in a brief telephone interview. He added that skies over the region would likely remain mostly clear overnight.
Mr. Rothstein referred questions about the northern lights to space weather forecasters at the federal government’s Space Weather Prediction Center.
The center said earlier this week that a moderate geomagnetic storm could take place over the northern United States late Monday into Tuesday morning. Its forecasting models suggested that people in parts of the West and Midwest had the best chances of seeing the northern lights.
There were unconfirmed sightings in Indiana, Wisconsin and elsewhere on Monday night. The conditions for spotting the northern lights in western New York State overnight also looked “encouraging,” Eric Snitil, the chief meteorologist at the television station WROC in Rochester, N.Y., said on X late Monday.
The northern lights were already visible to the naked eye as far south as Missouri on Monday night, said Tyler Schlitt, a part-time photographer who lives near St. Louis and was shooting the sky from a field beside a gravel road near the city of Elsberry, Mo.
Mr. Schlitt, 32, said by phone around 11 p.m. that the red pillars he had seen earlier had since faded. He had a 90-minute drive home and a work shift starting at 7 a.m., he said, so he planned to pack up soon — unless the colors on his camera screen were to suddenly intensify.
“If I see a whole bunch, I will stay out a little bit later,” he said.